Commerce Awards Over $730,000 in Grant Funding to Revitalize 15 Montana Communities

Forsyth Montana HELENA, Mont. – The Montana Department of Commerce today announced more than $730,000 in grant funding was awarded to regenerate Main Street businesses and downtowns in 15 Montana communities. The funding is provided by Commerce’s Montana Main Street Program.

“Montana’s main streets are at the core of our state’s economy,” said Scott Osterman, Director of the Montana Department of Commerce. “Montana Main Street grants help generate redevelopment through community-initiated projects that enhance the physical assets of these towns – which inspires others to invest in their properties and businesses.”

The Montana Main Street Program helps communities strengthen and preserve their historic downtown commercial districts by focusing on economic development, urban revitalization and historic preservation through long-range planning, organization, design and promotion. Additionally, the program works with local partners to identify and plan for a community’s greatest development needs and provides seed money to help implement high-impact projects.

In 2021, the City of Havre, in partnership with Bear Paw Development Corporation, received a $20,000 grant from the Montana Main Street program to develop a Downtown Master Plan to guide the growth and redevelopment of Havre’s commercial core. The plan was adopted by the Havre City Council in February and represents the community’s collaborative effort to develop a blueprint for downtown revitalization, preservation and economic development. The combined market analysis, public engagement and application of planning and design principles culminated in a list of actionable steps that the community is now working to accomplish. Specifically, the community’s recent grant award to develop a feasibility study for establishing second floor housing in a downtown historic building is a direct result of the development of the plan.

“Bear Paw Development is thrilled to be a part of this exciting redevelopment in Havre’s downtown area,” said Paul Tuss, Executive Director of Bear Paw Development. “By securing the grant for a feasibility study for second floor housing in one of our historic buildings, we can help address the ongoing housing shortage in our community and assist property owners in taking the first step towards bringing life back into our unused spaces. We’re excited to help Havre make its downtown area one to be proud of.”

In 2023, Commerce established an Impact Grant as an additional funding opportunity designed to promote high-impact, brick-and-mortar improvements in historic downtown districts. Grant awards for both the Impact Grant and the yearly Planning and Project Grant were increased to a maximum award of $50,000, allowing for more meaningful downtown improvements and strategic planning.

Planning and Project Grants are used for projects that are related to downtown revitalization, economic development and historic preservation.

Montana Main Street Program Planning and Project Grant funding recipients:

Impact Grant funding can be used to activate public spaces, downtown retail spaces, and upstairs housing.

Montana Main Street Program Impact Grant funding recipients:

Additionally in 2022, Montana Main Street program staff worked with the local Main Street program partners in Lewistown and Roundup to produce a video highlighting their community revitalization accomplishments since joining the program.

Montana Main Street funding can be used for planning or brick-and-mortar projects that support downtown revitalization efforts and require a $1 match from the local community for every $5 received. The program currently serves 37 member communities across the state.

For more information about the Montana Main Street Program, visit

Tags: Community MT